How to Date Roseville Pottery: A Complete Guide

How to Date Roseville Pottery: A Complete Guide

Roseville pottery is a highly collectible ceramic ware that was produced by the Roseville Pottery Company in the early 20th century. With its intricate designs and beautiful glazes, Roseville pottery has become a popular choice among collectors and enthusiasts. However, determining the age of Roseville pottery can be a challenging task, as the company had several different markings and styles over the years. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to accurately determine the age of your Roseville pottery.

One of the first things to look for when trying to determine the age of Roseville pottery is the company’s marking. In the early years, Roseville pottery was marked with a stamped or raised Rv mark. However, this mark was later changed to the more easily recognizable Roseville mark, which featured the word “Roseville” surrounded by a distinctive border.

Another important factor to consider when dating Roseville pottery is the style and design. The company produced pottery in a wide range of styles, including the popular Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs. By studying the different styles and designs of Roseville pottery, you can often narrow down the age range of a piece.

Additionally, examining the glaze can also provide clues about the age of Roseville pottery. The company used a variety of glazes over the years, including the classic green, blue, and brown glazes. Certain glaze colors and techniques were only used during specific time periods, helping to further pinpoint the age of a piece.

In conclusion, determining the age of Roseville pottery requires careful examination of the company’s marking, style, design, and glaze. By familiarizing yourself with the various markings and styles used by the Roseville Pottery Company, you can confidently determine the age of your own Roseville pottery collection.

About Roseville Pottery

About Roseville Pottery

Roseville Pottery is a renowned American pottery manufacturer that was established in 1890 in Roseville, Ohio. The company gained popularity for its high-quality and beautifully designed ceramic pieces, which were highly sought after by art collectors and pottery enthusiasts.

The pottery produced by Roseville Pottery was known for its distinctive style, exceptional craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Each piece was intricately handcrafted by skilled artisans, resulting in a unique and timeless beauty.

Throughout its history, Roseville Pottery released various lines and patterns, each with its own distinct characteristics. Some of the most notable lines include the Futura, Pinecone, Magnolia, and Rozane lines. These lines featured different shapes, colors, and motifs, showcasing the versatility and creativity of the artisans at Roseville Pottery.

One of the defining characteristics of Roseville Pottery is its use of intricate and detailed floral motifs. The company’s designers drew inspiration from nature, incorporating elements such as flowers, leaves, and vines into their designs. This attention to detail and nature-inspired aesthetic set Roseville Pottery apart from other pottery manufacturers of its time.

Roseville Pottery reached the height of its popularity in the early 20th century, during the Arts and Crafts movement. The movement emphasized the importance of craftsmanship, simplicity, and natural beauty. The aesthetic values promoted by the movement aligned perfectly with Roseville Pottery’s style, leading to increased demand for their products.

Unfortunately, Roseville Pottery was forced to close its doors in 1954 due to financial difficulties. However, its legacy lives on, and its vintage pieces are highly valued and sought after by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

If you are interested in starting or expanding your collection, understanding the age of Roseville Pottery is essential. By learning about the various marks, patterns, and production years, you can accurately determine the age and value of your Roseville Pottery pieces.

History and Background

Roseville Pottery is a well-known American pottery company that was founded in 1892 in Roseville, Ohio. The company was initially known as the Roseville Pottery Company and produced functional stoneware and pottery items for everyday use. However, in the early 20th century, the company shifted its focus and began creating art pottery.

Under the leadership of namesake George F. Young, Roseville Pottery gained recognition for its innovative designs and high-quality craftsmanship. The company’s art pottery featured intricate patterns, unique shapes, and vibrant glazes, making it highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

During its prime, Roseville Pottery produced various lines of art pottery, including the popular Futura, Donatello, and Mostique collections. These collections showcased the company’s dedication to creating distinctive designs that reflected the prevailing artistic styles of the time.

Unfortunately, like many pottery companies, Roseville Pottery faced challenges during the Great Depression. The company struggled to adapt to the changing market conditions and ultimately declared bankruptcy in 1954.

Despite its closure, Roseville Pottery continues to be highly collectible and respected in the world of pottery. The company’s pieces are recognized for their exceptional quality and artistic value, and they are prized by collectors for their historical significance and beauty.

Today, determining the age of Roseville Pottery pieces is a fascinating endeavor for collectors and historians. By understanding the history and background of the company, as well as the unique characteristics of different periods and collections, enthusiasts can gain valuable insights into the age and value of specific pieces.

Distinctive Features

Roseville pottery is known for its distinctive features that can help determine its age and origin. These features include:

  • Design Styles: Roseville pottery went through different design styles throughout its history. Early pieces often featured hand-painted florals, while later pieces incorporated more sculptural elements and modern motifs.
  • Glazes: The glazes used on Roseville pottery also changed over time. Early pieces often had a matte finish, while later pieces featured glossy and iridescent glazes.
  • Shapes and Forms: Different shapes and forms were popular during different periods. Classic Roseville pieces include vases, bowls, and jardinieres, often with decorative handles and feet.
  • Markings: Roseville pottery is usually marked with a stamp or embossed mark on the bottom. These marks can indicate the age and authenticity of the piece.
  • Sizes and Proportions: The sizes and proportions of Roseville pottery can also provide clues about its age. Early pieces were often smaller and more delicate, while later pieces tended to be larger and more substantial.
  • Quality of craftsmanship: Roseville pottery is known for its high-quality craftsmanship. Look for finely detailed and precise hand-painted designs, as well as smooth and flawless glazing.

By examining these distinctive features, collectors and enthusiasts can gain a better understanding of the age and authenticity of Roseville pottery.

Influence of Art Deco Style

The Art Deco style had a significant impact on the design and production of Roseville Pottery. Originating in the 1920s and 1930s, the Art Deco movement was characterized by its bold geometric shapes, bright colors, and emphasis on sleek and streamlined design. Roseville Pottery, known for its unique and artistic designs, embraced the Art Deco style, incorporating its elements into many of their pieces.

One of the key influences of the Art Deco style on Roseville Pottery was the use of geometric patterns and shapes. The pottery often featured bold lines and angular forms, reflecting the symmetrical and precise nature of Art Deco design. These geometric patterns were often enhanced with vibrant, contrasting colors, creating a striking visual impact.

The Art Deco movement also brought a sense of modernity and technological progress to the design of Roseville Pottery. Many of the pieces featured sleek and streamlined shapes, reminiscent of the emerging Machine Age. The use of smooth curves and flowing lines added a sense of movement and dynamism to the pottery, further enhancing its modern appeal.

In addition to its visual elements, the Art Deco style also influenced the materials and techniques used in the production of Roseville Pottery. The pottery utilized new and innovative methods, such as slip casting, to create their intricate designs and intricate detailing. These advancements allowed for greater precision and complexity in the production process, resulting in more elaborate and intricate designs.

The Art Deco style remained popular throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and Roseville Pottery continued to incorporate its influences into their designs during this time. However, as the years went by, the Art Deco influence began to wane, and Roseville Pottery started to explore other design trends and influences. Nevertheless, the impact of the Art Deco style on the pottery’s design and aesthetic remains evident in many of their pieces, making them highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

Identifying Authentic Roseville Pottery

When collecting Roseville Pottery, it is important to be able to distinguish between authentic pieces and reproductions or fakes. Here are some key factors to consider when identifying authentic Roseville Pottery:

  1. Marks and Signatures: Authentic Roseville Pottery will have clear and distinct markings or signatures on the bottom. These marks often include the Roseville Pottery logo, the specific pattern name, and sometimes the shape or size number. These marks should be well-defined and not blurry or faint.
  2. Quality of Craftsmanship: Authentic Roseville Pottery is known for its high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. Look for well-executed designs, clean lines, and well-glazed surfaces. Pay attention to the overall appearance and feel of the piece, as authentic Roseville should have a weighty and solid feel.
  3. Consistency in Design and Pattern: Roseville Pottery often produced sets or lines of pottery in specific designs and patterns. Look for consistency in the design elements, such as the floral motifs or geometric patterns. Authentic pieces should have a consistent and well-executed design throughout the piece.
  4. Colors and Glazes: Roseville Pottery is known for its rich and vibrant colors. Authentic pieces should have consistent and well-applied glazes, with no signs of peeling, cracking, or uneven color distribution. Look for unique color combinations and glaze effects that are characteristic of Roseville Pottery.
  5. Shape and Size: Authentic Roseville Pottery comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, including vases, bowls, and figurines. Familiarize yourself with the typical shapes and sizes of authentic pieces in different patterns. Be cautious of unusually large or small pieces, as these may be indicative of reproductions.

Remember that it is always best to purchase Roseville Pottery from reputable dealers or sellers who can provide provenance and authentication for their pieces. Additionally, consulting reference books, online resources, and experts in the field can further aid in identifying authentic Roseville Pottery.

Markings and Signatures

One of the easiest ways to determine the age of Roseville pottery is by examining the markings and signatures on the piece. These markings can provide valuable clues about the origin and production date of the pottery.

1. Initials and Numbers:

Early Roseville pottery pieces often feature hand-written initials and numbers on the bottom. These markings were used by the artists and decorators to indicate who made or decorated the piece. The initials may include the first initial of the artist’s first or last name, while the numbers could represent the design or shape number. These markings were typically applied using a pencil or a brush and may have faded or worn over time.

2. Raised Marks:

In the early 1900s, Roseville pottery began using raised marks on the bottom of their pieces. These marks were typically in the form of raised letters or symbols and were used to distinguish and identify the different lines and patterns produced by the company. These raised marks often include the name “Roseville” along with the specific line or pattern name.

3. Impressed Marks:

In the 1930s and 1940s, Roseville pottery shifted to using impressed marks on their pieces. These marks were created by pressing a stamp or a metal die into the wet clay before firing. Impressed marks are typically more precise and clear compared to raised marks. They often include the name “Roseville” along with the specific line or pattern name, as well as the shape or design number. These marks can be helpful in identifying and dating the pottery.

4. Labels and Stickers:

Some Roseville pottery pieces may still retain their original paper labels or stickers. These labels can indicate the age and origin of the piece. The labels may include the name “Roseville” along with other information such as the line or pattern name, shape number, and even the original retailer’s name.

5. Patterns and Glazes:

Another way to determine the age of Roseville pottery is by examining the patterns and glazes used. Roseville pottery went through different periods of design and production, each characterized by unique patterns, colors, and glazes. By comparing the patterns and glazes to known examples from different time periods, it is possible to narrow down the age of a piece.


Examining the markings and signatures on Roseville pottery can provide valuable information for determining its age. Whether it’s the hand-written initials and numbers, raised or impressed marks, original labels, or the patterns and glazes used, these markings can help collectors and enthusiasts identify and date their Roseville pottery with more accuracy.

Color and Design Patterns

The color and design patterns used in Roseville pottery can be helpful in determining its age. Over the years, Roseville pottery has gone through different design eras, each characterized by unique colors and patterns.

1. Early Period (1890s-1900s)

  • During this period, Roseville pottery featured simple and conservative designs.
  • The color palette was mostly earth tones, such as brown, green, and yellow.
  • Patterns were often floral or geometric, with intricate detailing.

2. Middle Period (1910s-1920s)

  • In this era, Roseville pottery saw a shift towards more Art Nouveau-inspired designs.
  • Colors became brighter and more vibrant, including shades of blue, pink, and yellow.
  • Patterns incorporated organic and flowing shapes, with an emphasis on floral motifs.

3. Late Period (1930s-1950s)

  • Roseville pottery in the late period featured more streamlined and modern designs.
  • Colors became bolder and more contrasting, including combinations of red, black, and white.
  • Patterns often featured abstract or geometric designs.

4. Experimental Period (1950s-1960s)

  • In this period, Roseville pottery experimented with new glazes and patterns.
  • Colors became more psychedelic and vibrant, including bright oranges, greens, and purples.
  • Patterns were often bold and abstract, incorporating elements of abstract expressionism.

5. Modern Period (1960s-present)

  • Roseville pottery in the modern period continued to evolve with contemporary design trends.
  • Colors and patterns became more diverse and varied, reflecting the changing tastes of collectors.
  • Patterns range from traditional and classic to abstract and avant-garde.

By studying the color palette and design patterns of a piece of Roseville pottery, collectors and enthusiasts can gain insights into its age and era of production.

Understanding the Production Process

Roseville Pottery was produced in several stages and understanding the production process can help determine the age of a piece. Here is a breakdown of the key steps involved:

  1. Clay Preparation: The production of Roseville Pottery begins with the preparation of clay. The clay is mixed with water and other minerals to create a workable material.
  2. Shaping: Once the clay is prepared, it is shaped into various forms using techniques such as wheel throwing or hand molding. Artisans would carefully craft the pottery to achieve the desired shape and design.
  3. Drying: After shaping, the pottery is left to dry. This process removes excess moisture from the clay and prepares it for the next stage.
  4. Decoration: Decoration is a crucial step in identifying the age of Roseville Pottery. Different patterns and motifs were used during different time periods. Artisans would apply glazes, hand-painted designs, or embossed patterns to the pottery.
  5. Kiln Firing: The decorated pottery is fired in a kiln at high temperatures. This firing process vitrifies the clay and glazes, transforming them into a durable ceramic material.
  6. Finishing: After firing, the pottery is inspected for any flaws or imperfections. Artisans would then apply a final touch by sanding or polishing the piece, ensuring a smooth and glossy finish.
  7. Marking: Lastly, the pottery is marked with the Roseville Pottery logo or stamp, indicating its authenticity and origin.

By understanding the production process of Roseville Pottery, collectors and enthusiasts can analyze the specific characteristics and features of a piece to determine its age and historical significance.

Evaluating the Condition of Roseville Pottery

When determining the age of Roseville Pottery, it is also important to evaluate the condition of the piece. The condition of a piece of pottery can not only affect its value but also provide clues about its age and history. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the condition of Roseville Pottery:

  • Cracks and Chips: Inspect the pottery for any cracks or chips. Small chips and hairline cracks are common in older pieces, but extensive damage can significantly affect the value and authenticity of the piece.
  • Crazing: Crazing refers to the fine cracks that develop on the surface of the glaze over time. While some collectors consider crazing to add character to the piece, excessive crazing can indicate poor quality or improper firing.
  • Discoloration: Look for any signs of discoloration or staining on the pottery. Age-related discoloration can be a desirable patina, but significant discoloration may be a sign of damage or improper storage.
  • Repairs and Restorations: Check for any signs of repairs or restorations. These can include visible glue lines, mismatched paints, or areas with different textures. While some restoration work is acceptable, extensive repairs can affect the overall value of the piece.
  • Weight and Balance: A well-made piece of pottery should have a balanced weight and feel sturdy in your hands. Any abnormalities in weight or balance may indicate damage or a poorly made piece.

It is important to remember that not all damage or imperfections detract from the value or authenticity of Roseville Pottery. Some collectors appreciate the uniqueness and history that comes with a well-worn piece. However, it is essential to carefully evaluate the condition of the pottery and factor it into your overall assessment of the piece’s age and value.

Common Issues and Restoration

Whether you’re a collector or simply enjoy the beauty of Roseville pottery, it’s important to be aware of the common issues that can affect these pieces over time. Understanding these issues can help you determine the age and condition of a piece, as well as guide you in the restoration process.

1. Crazing: Crazing refers to the formation of small cracks or lines in the glaze of the pottery. This can occur due to changes in temperature or simply aging. Crazing is a common issue with Roseville pottery and while it may not affect the functionality of the piece, it can impact its value and aesthetic appeal.

2. Chips and cracks: Chips and cracks can occur from regular use or mishandling. These can significantly devalue a piece and should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage. It’s important to note that restoring a chip or crack can be challenging and should be left to professionals to ensure the best results.

3. Fading and discoloration: Over time, the colors of Roseville pottery may fade or experience discoloration. This can be caused by exposure to sunlight, pollutants, or improper cleaning methods. Restoring the original colors of a piece can be difficult, but professional restoration services may be able to help.

4. Missing or damaged parts: Some Roseville pottery pieces may have decorative elements or handles that are prone to breaking or going missing. In such cases, it may be possible to find replacement parts from online marketplaces or specialized dealers.

5. Restoration process: Restoring Roseville pottery should always be done by professionals who have experience working with antique ceramics. They will use specialized techniques and materials to carefully repair and preserve the piece, ensuring its longevity and maintaining its value.

6. Cleaning and maintenance: Preventative care is crucial to maintaining the beauty of Roseville pottery. Avoid using harsh cleaning agents or abrasive materials that can damage the glaze. Instead, use mild soaps and soft brushes to gently clean the pottery. Additionally, storing the pieces in a cool, dry place can help prevent issues such as moisture damage or mold growth.

By being aware of these common issues and following proper restoration and maintenance practices, you can ensure that your Roseville pottery collection remains in excellent condition for years to come.


What is Roseville pottery?

Roseville pottery refers to ceramic art and pottery produced by the Roseville Pottery Company, which was established in Roseville, Ohio, in 1890. It is highly collectible due to its unique designs and craftsmanship.

How can I determine the age of Roseville pottery?

Determining the age of Roseville pottery can be done by examining various factors such as the style, glaze, mark, and shape of the piece. Consulting reference books and experts in the field can also help in identifying the age of Roseville pottery.

Are there different styles or periods of Roseville pottery?

Yes, Roseville pottery went through several different periods and styles throughout its production. Some of the notable styles include the Early Period, Middle Period, and Late Period. Each period had its own distinct designs and characteristics.

What are some common marks found on Roseville pottery?

Some common marks found on Roseville pottery include the raised “Roseville” mark, the die-impressed “Roseville U.S.A.” mark, and the paper label mark. These marks can help in identifying the authenticity and age of the pottery.

Can I find Roseville pottery at antique stores or online?

Yes, you can find Roseville pottery at antique stores, flea markets, and online platforms such as eBay and Etsy. It is important to do thorough research and buy from reputable sellers to ensure the authenticity of the piece.

Collecting 101: Roseville Pottery! The History, Popularity, Patterns, Styles and Value! Episode 5


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